Resolution of structural isomers of sialylated oligosaccharides by capillary electrophoresis

J Chromatogr A. 2001 Jul 6;921(2):315-21. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9673(01)00872-x.


The resolution of structural isomers in mixtures of oligosaccharides is often challenging. Capillary electrophoresis was employed to separate three sets of structural isomers of sialylated oligosaccharides found in human milk and bovine colostrum. Different running buffers were necessary to achieve optimal baseline resolution. To resolve 3'- and 6'-sialyllactoses, 0.2 M aqueous sodium phosphate containing 40% methanol as an organic modifier was used as a running buffer. To resolve 3'- and 6'-sialyllactosamines, 0.4 M aqueous sodium phosphate without organic modifier was used. Baseline resolution of sialyllacto-N-tetraose-a and -b and sialyllacto-N-neotetraose-c was achieved with a 0.4 M Tris-HCl buffer containing 250 mM sodium dodecyl sulfate and 10% methanol as the organic modifier. Thus, each of these sets of structural isomers of sialylated oligosaccharides required a unique running buffer with respect to buffer type, concentration, pH, presence of organic modifiers, and surfactants. Similar electrophoresis conditions may be useful for resolving and analyzing other structural isomers of acidic oligosaccharides by capillary electrophoresis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrate Conformation
  • Electrophoresis, Capillary / methods*
  • Isomerism
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / chemistry*
  • Oligosaccharides / chemistry
  • Oligosaccharides / isolation & purification*


  • Oligosaccharides
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid